AU binding proteins recruit the exosome to degrade ARE-containing mRNAs

Cell. 2001 Nov 16;107(4):451-64. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(01)00578-5.


Inherently unstable mammalian mRNAs contain AU-rich elements (AREs) within their 3' untranslated regions. Although found 15 years ago, the mechanism by which AREs dictate rapid mRNA decay is not clear. In yeast, 3'-to-5' mRNA degradation is mediated by the exosome, a multisubunit particle. We have purified and characterized the human exosome by mass spectrometry and found its composition to be similar to its yeast counterpart. Using a cell-free RNA decay system, we demonstrate that the mammalian exosome is required for rapid degradation of ARE-containing RNAs but not for poly(A) shortening. The mammalian exosome does not recognize ARE-containing RNAs on its own. ARE recognition requires certain ARE binding proteins that can interact with the exosome and recruit it to unstable RNAs, thereby promoting their rapid degradation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Pairing
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell-Free System
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Genes, fos
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / genetics
  • Jurkat Cells / drug effects
  • Jurkat Cells / metabolism
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Poly A / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Thymine Nucleotides / pharmacology
  • Trans-Activators*


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Interleukin-2
  • KHSRP protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Thymine Nucleotides
  • Trans-Activators
  • Poly A
  • thymidine 5'-triphosphate